Daily Dose

David Ash

Welcome to the Daily Dose, a daily collection of random musings surrounding Longhorns athletics and recruiting. Today we'll look at Longhorns that are currently working their way back from injury, and how their return will shake things up this fall.

QB David Ash

Injury: Jones fracture in his left foot

There's never a good time for injury, especially to a potential starting quarterback trying to learn a new offense. But Ash' injury did come in the spring and late enough that he was able to be there as Shawn Watson installed much of the offense.

He expected to make a full recovery and be ready for fall camp, when he'll join Tyrone Swoopes, Jerrod Heard, and presumably USC transfer Max Wittek in one of the country's most intriguing QB battles.

What Ash has is a familiarity with his teammates and their trust that he can lead them where they want to go. He's also a step ahead of Heard and Wittek in his knowledge of the offense and seeing it implemented first hand by Watson.

What he doesn't have is the confidence in a fan base that he can stay healthy for a full season, and the risk that the concussion-like symptoms that kept him out for most of 2013 could return.

If Ash returns healthy, like he's expected to, there's no reason why he shouldn't be the Day 1 starter under center for the Longhorns. He's one of the Big 12's top QBs when healthy and has the mental makeup to digest and relay what Watson/Wickline are trying to accomplish at the position.

OL Kent Perkins

Injury: Knee injury

Perkins underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery a few weeks ago for an injury he sustained early in the spring practice period, and should be ready for the beginning of fall camp.

The injury was a blow to the talented sophomore's development but only a small glitch in what should be a promising career for Wickline and Co. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound lineman should challenge for a starting spot when he comes back, most likely at right guard where Taylor Doyle has been working.

Wickline asks a lot of his linemen from a mental standpoint and Perkins embodies what it takes to get the job done. He's also got one of the strongest punches on the team and is incredibly limber for his size.

He spent nearly all of his high school career at right tackle so he's familiar with that side of the line. He's easily one of Texas' top five linemen and needs to be in that starting group.

RB Johnathan Gray

Injury: Torn right Achilles tendon

In watch Johnathan Gray move around at practice and on the sidelines of the spring game without any supportive boot or crutches, you could tell he was feeling pretty good about things.

His father, James Gray, confirmed that assumption with HornsDigest on Monday when he said his son told him he'd be ready to go on Sept. 1. Texas' second game of the season is on Sept. 6 vs. BYU.

Gray was on his way toward easily eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark last season before his injury. Despite missing nearly five games in 2013, Gray was second on the team in rushing yards (780), which was 10th best in the Big 12.

The Longhorns should have the luxury of working him back a little slowly considering the way Malcolm Brown looked at the end of last season and how he ran in the spring game. They should be able to take their time even more if Joe Bergeron returns this fall after taking most of the spring off for personal reasons.

As James Gray said, physically he's not worried about his son. It's the mental aspect he's got questions about. If he can get that figured out there's no reason why Gray shouldn't be one of the team's top two rushers this season as well as a top 10 rusher in the Big 12.

LB Jordan Hicks

Injury: Torn Achilles injury

Hicks has been seen walking around without the aid of crutches or a boot for a while now, and his return this fall seems all but certain.

That's incredibly good news for linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, who should get a former five-star recruit that has a lot to prove after missing nearly 20 games the last two seasons due to injury.

Hicks was easily having his best season at UT before his injury in 2013 when he led the team with 41 tackles. It's hard to imagine that Tim Cole, who has worked with the first team linebackers, would beat out Hicks upon his return.

But Texas could look to return him to the mix a little more slowly because of the depth they've created at the position with the likes of Cole, Naashon Hughes, Dalton Santos, and Demarco Cobbs. When it's all said and done, though, there's no reason why Hicks shouldn't get back with the first team.

LB Tevin Jackson

Injury: Torn ACL in his left knee

Jackson has really never lived up to the hype he came to Texas with from Garland where he was a prep All-American. You've really got to feel for him considering his knee injury came at a time when he could have started to emerge as one of the top replacements for Hicks.

He should be ready for the start of fall camp as well but it's going to be hard for him to top some of the players already in the mix. His best shot at PT could be on special teams where he was tied for second on the team with eight stops.

But there's a lot of fight in him and he's not going to go down without a fight.

CB Sheroid Evans

Injury: Torn ACL

Evans was one of Texas' top reserve defensive backs in 2013 during the first five games before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. He's behind the curve as are all of those that missed the spring but in good shape because of his pervious experience. He's played in 27 games at UT. That speaks to his abilities.

What he'll have to overcome is the emergence of Bryson Echols and Antwuan Davis, which is going to be hard to do. Echols has pleaded his case to be the top reserve boundary corner and Davis oozes with potential.

Assuming Evans hasn't lost any of his speed, which made him one of the fastest players on the team, his coverage skills are going to be there and so will the playing time.

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